Monday, November 26, 2007

Tasting: Wine Spectator's 07 Wine of the Year, Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005

I hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Well it took a bit longer than I had hoped to crack open this bottle, but I finally did on Thanksgiving day. So here is what I thought of Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005, Wine Spectator's wine of the year for 2007.

Color: Very dense/dark ruby color

Nose: Sweet and fruity with berries, spice and some floral notes.

Taste: The wine is BIG & BOLD from the offset with a burst of sweetness up front, but then mellows in on some dark fruit, licorice, mild oak and spices. It is a very hearty with a slight bitterness (likely due to its young age). A long finish with mild tannins, but not the kind that will stick to your teeth and make your whole mouth purple. Really good, tasty wine that will only get better and better if stored in the right conditions. I look forward to trying another bottle next Thanksgiving!

The Verdict: 8 corks (may increase to 9 corks with some time in the bottle).

Friday, November 16, 2007

Wine Spectator - 2007 Wine of the Year...and the honors go to

I know this will sound weird, but when I finally saw which wine took this year's top honor from Wine Spectator's editors, I got really excited. The reason, you see, is that I have been indulging in Chateauneuf du Pape for about the past month, AND several months ago I bought a ton of it from various vineyards. And wouldn't you know, of the 20 or so bottles I bought, I only bought a measly 3 bottles of the wine that Wine Spectator has just given it's highest honor to. I haven't tried it yet, but will now and I can assure you that come Monday there will be some tasting notes on this blog.

Note to all of you, if you've never tried a Chateauneuf du Pape, I highly recommend it. It's also important to note that this is the second Chateauneuf du Pape to make the top trust me you'll want to get your hands on some of this yum yum.

Check back on Monday for my tasting notes, as well as some others...I'm attending a dinner tomorrow night, and will try to get note from other folks, from novice to experienced wine drinkers.


Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005 - 98 points - $80

Here's what Wine Spectator had to say about this beauty:

In the Southern Rhône's recent trio of great vintages starting with 2003, no other Châteauneuf-du-Pape domaine has produced better wines than Clos des Papes. Under Vincent Avril, quality has improved steadily, and the 2003 (97 points) was Wine Spectator's No. 2 wine in 2005.

At 98 points, the 2005 is Avril's best wine yet, displaying an enormous core of fruit and minerality along with massive structure. The Clos des Papes red (the estate also produces a white) is a blend of 65 percent Grenache, 20 percent Mourvèdre, 10 percent Syrah and other grapes from 74 acres of vines around Châteauneuf. Avril keeps yields low, picks vineyard blocks separately for ideal ripeness and vinifies the destemmed grapes in ceramic-lined vats. The wine is aged in large wooden foudres
for up to 12 months before the final blend is assembled.

This is really tight now, but it's packed with dark fig, currant, espresso, licorice and chocolate notes. Superfleshy but seriously structured, there's layer after layer of sweet spice, fruit and minerality pumping through the finish, with lots of latent depth and power. Far more backward than the 2003 and 2004 on release, but considering this typically puts on weight as it ages, it should be a monster--à la the 1990--when it reaches its peak. Best from 2009 through 2030. 7,500 cases made. –JM

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tracking Wine Spectator's top 10 of 2007 - Today #4, #3 & #2

Hey gang. As you know, we've been tracking Wine Spectator's top 10 of 2007. Now some of you may say who cares, but trust me, as we approach the holidays, you will be wondering what bottles of wine to buy for friends and loved ones, and I for one think the top 100 is a great list to work off of. While we're only tracking the top 10, you can find the other 90 from the top 100 on Wine Spectator's web site. So we've covered 10 through 5 so far, and here are the next three wonderful bottles ranking 4, 3 and 2. Tomorrow we will know the number 1 bottle according to the magazine. Anyway, here we go.

4. Antinori Toscana Tignanello 2004 - 95 points - $79

3. Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005 - 95 points - $49 - **9 corks**
I actually have a dozen or so bottles of this little beauty in my wine racks, and really do enjoy it. For the price, thus far the cheapest of the top 10, I think it's absolutely outstanding.

2. Ridge Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Santa Cruz Mountain Estate 2005 - 95 points - $35 - **8 corks**

That's all for now...stay tuned for the big winner tomorrow. I can assure you that whichever bottle is named #1, it will be one of the top sellers at any and all local wine shops within a few weeks.

The Vine Guy

Get Out The Vote

Don't forget to take a quick second to vote in our poll on the top right corner. We're trying to gauge the types of wines we should be reviewing/discussing by polling you! Our readers! (All 20 of you)

I prefer wines from the good old U.S. of A. most of the time, but in addition to my US mainstays I will generally focus on a region or country for about 6 months at a time. First it was Spain, then Portugal, then Argentina, and now I'm fully into Italian wines.
Right now, as I've mentioned in the comments section a few times, I'm moving towards big, hearty Cabs and Zins. Our weather here in the Northeast makes these deep red wines ideal for sitting next to a fireplace or paired with a nice roast with hearty root vegetables. Weather is definitely one of the most significant factors in choosing a wine and really something to consider when serving guests. But, if you like white wine in the winter time, don't let me (or the weather forecast) stop you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tracking Wine Spectator's top 10 of 2007 - Today #6 and #5

OK, so Wine Spectator has announced two more bottles to make the top 10 list for 2007. The following came in at numbers 6 and 5.

6. Château Léoville Las Cases St.-Julien 2004 - 95 points - $90 - **10 corks, absolutely wonderful Bordeaux**

5. Two Hands Shiraz Barossa Valley Bella's Garden 2005 - 95 points - $60

Stay tuned as we follow this baby all the way to number 1.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tracking Wine Spectator's top 10 of 2007

Hey gang. Wine Spectator has started announcing its much anticipated top 10 list of 2007 wines. They will work from #10 to #1 this week, with the top spot being announced on Friday. In honor of a great magazine, and its great top 100 tradition, we are going the track it for you here and let you know if any of your favorites make the best of the best. So here are the bottles that have made the top 10 for 2007 so far. You'll notice Grape Nut made mention of the Robert Mondavi in his last post. For bottles on the list that I have personally tried, I've also noted my score...not that it matters:

10. Krug Brut Champagne 1996 - 99 points - $250

9. Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve 2004 - 95 points - $125 - **8 corks**

8. Mollydooker Shiraz McLaren Vale Carnival of Love 2006 - 95 points - $80 - **9 corks**

7. Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia 2004 - 97 points - $150

That's all for now...stay tuned for more.

The Vine Guy

Wine News - SF Chronicle: Constellation Brands buys several California premium wine labels

Some interesting news coming out of Cali, the mega winemaker, Constellation is buying several high end labels in Napa and Sonoma...from the San Franscisco Chronicle below:

Constellation Brands buys several California premium wine
Sam Zuckerman,
Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Constellation Brands, the world's biggest winemaker, said Monday that it has agreed to buy several well-known premium labels, including the popular Clos du Bois brand, a major addition to its California operations.

The company, based in upstate New York, will pay $885 million for the U.S. wine business of Fortune Brands, which also includes the Geyser Peak, Wild Horse, Buena Vista Carneros and Gary Farrell labels. As part of the deal, Constellation is acquiring about 1,500 acres of vineyards in Sonoma and Napa counties.

The Fortune wines sell approximately 2.6 million cases annually. Clos du Bois, which Fortune
describes as the nation's No. 2 super-premium wine brand, represents about 2 million cases of that total.

The deal, which could close before year-end, builds on Constellation's existing California wine business. The company catapulted to the top rank of Northern California wine production in 2004 when it agreed to buy Robert Mondavi, one of winemaking's most prestigious names...
For the rest
click here.

I don't know what type of impact this will have on these specific labels, but I always find it interesting - the struggle of the family owned or smaller winery verse the large conglomerate. I guess I tend to get caught up in the romanticism of the family wineries opposed to drinking wine from a mega-producer. But I guess at the end of the day, it's all about the quality of wine. But two wines together one owned by a multi-national and the other owned by a small group of investors, I'll go with the little guy. (Did I mention I like the movie Rudy)

On a slightly separate note, I did read that the 2004 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve - recently ranked number nine on Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2007 list - because of the sale to Constellation will be the last vintage produced by the family . Might be worth picking up a few bottles for that reason alone.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Tasting: Clos Henri Vineyard

I enjoyed this wine over the weekend with a stuffed pork loin (red peppers, spinach and Mozzarella cheese) and a pesto pasta. I paid $24 for the bottle at Wine Library. It was my first encounter with Clos Henri.

The wine: Clos Henri Pinot Noir Marlborough 2005

Region: Marlborough, New Zealand

Color: Very light ruby, more translucent than I had expected.

Nose: BEAUTIFUL. Thing I noticed most was the floral hints, but nice cherry and other berries represented.

Taste: Very warm notes of cherry, raspberry and spice, by no means overwhelming. Through the finish the fruit picked up steam, and also noticed a touch of oak on the back end. Surprisingly, the floral notes I detected in the nose didn't hit my pallet, though there was a slight hint of grass/hay. It did have a 20 second finish that was very smooth and soft.

I really enjoyed this wine, more so than I expected. I've been enjoying New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs for a long time, and figured it was time to expand my horizons and try something else. I grabbed this bottle on sale at Wine Library at the suggestion of one of the fellas there. I thought it went perfectly with the meal. I give it an 8 cork score, though when I asked my dad to rate it 1 through 10, he gave it a 9...and he's a man that knows quite a bit about wine, producing it all his life.

Verdict: 8 Corks

Have you guys jumped on the New Zealand band wagon yet? If so, what is it that tickles your fancy at the moment?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Tasting: Jaffurs Wine Cellars

I tried the 2006 Jaffurs Wine Cellars Santa Barbara County Syrah last night. I paid $50 for the bottle at a martini/wine bar called Cibar (17th and Irving) not too far from Union Square in New York. I didn't take formal tasting notes, but I'd say it was exactly what I was looking for last night.

Jaffurs Wine Cellars 2005 Santa Barbara County Syrah
Color: Ruby red
Nose: Nice, but not overwhelming. Hints of red fruits.
Taste: I enjoyed this wine, after a light-dinner, celebrating with a few recently engaged friends. The wine had nice bold fruit fruit flavors up front with a hint of spice, finishing with a silky bit of sweetness that made it perfect. It's not an extremely complex wine, more straight forward, but enjoyable none the less.

The Jaffurs website doesn't list the 2006 vintages yet. Additionally, from my limited research, it seems that Cibar is only charging a double markup - really not that bad for Manhattan. The wife and I are working on a trip to Santa Barbara at some point, so we will have to add this to the list of wineries to visit. Anyone else have a particular Santa Barbara wine they would recommend? Or just a bottle that's drinking particularly well?

I would give this wine a 8 corks.

A separate question: Anyone dreading the weak dollar for wine consumption reasons? I think it's certainly going to crimp some of my purchases of Italian wines if this keeps up.

This & That: News Briefs from the Wine World

Hey gang, here are just some interesting tidbits I came across this week in wine news...

Go ahead, drink up. Don't' worry about hangover headaches...anymore?

The effects are all too familiar: a fancy dinner, some fine wine and then, a few hours later, a racing heart and a pounding headache. But a device developed by University of California, Berkeley, researchers could help avoid the dreaded "red wine headache."

Chemists working with NASA-funded technology designed to find life on Mars have created a device they say can easily detect chemicals that many scientists believe can turn wine and other beloved indulgences into ingredients for agony.

The chemicals, called biogenic amines, occur naturally in a wide variety of aged, pickled and fermented foods prized by gourmet palates, including wine, chocolate, cheese, olives, nuts and cured meats.

The prototype — the size of a small briefcase — uses a drop of wine to determine amine levels in five minutes. The researchers found the highest amine levels in red wine and sake and the lowest in beer. For now, the device only works with liquids.

CONGRATS TO NEW ZEALAND...Seems they're entering the big leagues.

A New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir have been voted the best in the world at the International Wine and Spirit Competition. The competition is considered one of the top wine awards in the world, and makers of Malborough's Vavasour Sauvignon say the win should help put them on the international map.

Villa Maria Pinot Noir was also judged best of its category and the winery also won best wine producer in New Zealand.

With over 300 other wines to compete with, it was the aroma and fine lingering finish of Marlbourgh's Vavasour Sauvignon that captivated the judges.

"It literally means it is the best of the best for that particular variety," says Executive Director of the competition, Alan Gibbons.

The event carries some impressive credentials. It started in 1969, with winemakers from around the world entering to have their best bottles judged by 40 international masters.

And prices are reasonable too, the wine crowned the world's best Sauvignon Blanc can be yours for around $20.

Docs Continue to find benefits of Grapes

New York researchers are focusing on grape polyphenols in wine and grape juice to help maintain long-term cognitive health.

Researchers at the Center for Research in Alternative and Complementary Medicine in Alzheimer's disease research at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York say Concord grape juice and red wine polyphenols show promise in counteracting beta-amyloid plaques associated with cognitive decline.

Two recent population studies associated moderate red wine and 100 percent fruit juice consumption with lowering the risk of Alzheimer's disease dementia.

That's all...enjoy your weekends!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Winery Tasting: Rosenblum

The above picture has nothing to do with the below post, although it's good to be back in the metro area. I took it last night with the better half at a fundraiser for the local art museum. I just wanted to post a picture.

I was on the West Coast this week for business, something I've been doing on a more regular basis lately. When in the Bay Area, I try to squeeze in a winery tour, tasting or at least a nice dinner with a good bottle of wine. It is always an opportunity to try wines I will never see in New York City or the surrounding area and a nice diversion to being on the road.

This trip, with my meetings wrapping up unexpectedly early, I headed over to the Alameda winery of Rosenblum Cellars.

A little background, I've been a fan of these wines for a couple of years, but never really tasted their top-end wines until a trip to their Healdsburg tasting room. Other than realizing that my wife and I wanted to spend a lot more time in Healdsburg, we knew we were absolutely in love with Rosenblum's wines. During that trip we bought a case of wine and signed up for their Red Rangers Club. Neither has disappointed. The case contained a mixture of Annette's Reserve Zinfandel Redwood Valley and Fran's Vineyard Reserve Syrah Rockpile. The first October shipment of the Red Rangers club did not let us down and we are eagerly awaiting our next shipment.

Back to my visit. So, I decided that seeing I had to drive through the Alameda area anyway, I should stop by and see where all of the magic happens. I was not disappointed.

First, I was greeted by someone that seemed familiar and had a familiar name. It was Farley, from Wine Outlook, an amazing wine blogger and occasional poster on this site. Do yourself a favor check out her writing; intuitive and intelligent, she affords us on the outside an exclusive view of the industry. Farley and her coworker Kenny G poured me some delicious wines from their tasting menu and I was quickly reminded of why I love these wines so much. As a special Halloween treat, for almost guessing her costume (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) I was able to try the special secret pour in honor of All Saints Day - the St. Peter's Church Zinfandel. All of the wines from tasting menu were delicious.

During my tasting, Ken Rosenblum, part of the husband and wife team that founded the winery walked into the tasting area. I was stoked. For me, Ken Rosenblum is an inspiration, a person who was able to change careers and make a run at his dream - ending up wildly successful. We talked for a few minutes about his wines and his recent trip to New York and New Jersey. Very nice, down-to-earth person.

After all this, I had to buy some wine. I picked up a few bottles of the Desire chocolate port (Which I will be sharing with my older brother and a few cigars) for the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday and I was lucky enough to pick up two of the last bottles of the 2005 Rominger Syrah Yolo County. There was a bit of a run on the Rominger as Wine Spectator Advance had rated it a 91 points. Having tasted it that day, I would have to agree with that rating.

I have to say that I highly recommend visiting the Alameda location. If you live in the bay area, you really have NO excuse. The staff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable about their wines. Plus, who knows, maybe you'll run into Farley, Kenny G, or Ken.


Reader Assignment: Go out and buy a bottle of Rosenblum and post our review in the comments section. On the other hand, just go buy a bottle and enjoy it. I'll be posting reviews of my Rosenblum bottles as I open them up - prehaps one this weekend.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Groth 2002 Cab Sauv - My San Francisco Treat

Hi gang.

So I just returned from a business trip in San Fran, and overall I have to say it was quite an enjoyable trip. Then again, any trip can be enjoyable when it's 85 degrees and sunny every day. So anyway, it was my first time to San Fran, and I liked it. Of course I didn't get to see much of it, but I most certainly enjoyed the multitude of restaurants the city had to offer.

Anyway, I'll cut to the chase. On my first night there, I had the opportunity to eat at Tommy Toys restaurant. Now for anyone who's never been to San Fran, let me tell you that this place will be on any travel guide's top 5 recommended restaurant list. From the moment you step in, it is like walking into Imperial China...from the traditional and antique Chinese artifacts and hostess in a geisha doll dress to the intricate carvings on the decorative wood moldings that surround the space. If you're ever in San Fran, go there if you like Chinese food with flare.

So now to the food...all of us at the table went for Tommy Toy's signature dinner, which is of the 6-course variety. Here's is what the meal entailed, granted I don't know what they were seasoned with:

» Minced Squab "Imperial"
» Seafood Bisque Oven Baked and Crowned with French Puff Pastry
» Fresh Whole Maine Lobster Sauteed with Fresh Mushrooms, Young Chives, and a Light Peppercorn Sauce Served on a Bed of Chinese Angel-Hair Crystal Noodles
» Peking Duck Served with Lotus Buns
» Wok Charred Medallions of Beef with Garlic, Wine and a Touch of Rosemary

» Peach Mousse in Fresh Strawberry Compote


Now I know you are all reading this saying why the heck is a wine blog guy writing about a Chinese restaurant. But, I'm getting to the wine part. That night, we complemented our meal with Groth Vineyard's 2002 Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon. It was my first time sampling a Groth product, which is from Napa by the way. Anyway, here is what I thought of it...

Retail Price: Approx $50/bottle.

Country: USA

Region: Napa, California

Color: Ruby, purple velvet

Nose: Moderate nose with hints of dark fruit . I particular noticed prominent notes of herbs and hay. Mild spice notes.

Mouth: Up front it was quite cheerful, with some semblance of cherry and oak, but what lingered for me were the herbal and grassy notes. Finish and pleasant, with mild tannins.

Overall I enjoyed the wine with the meal, but I generally like my Cabs to pack a bit more punch. I must also state that the herbal notes are prominent in this wine, and the fruit is muted. For $50 retail, you can do better for a Napa Cab, but with this meal, it was quite enjoyable.

The Verdict: 8 corks - very very good.

Note, this score may have been different if I tasted the wine without the meal, but for now I think it deserves an 8

Monday, October 15, 2007

Home Brew...Mmm Mmm Good!

I know many of you have heard me talk about how my family makes wine each year. In fact, several of you have even expressed some interest in traveling out to Long Island (which is where the wine is made at my parents’ house) to help out and watch the process in person. Unfortunately, we’ve never been able to line that up, so I’ve done the next best thing…captured it all on film, er well, memory card anyway.

I thought it might be fun for you folks to see some of these pictures of my dad while he was in the act of making his wine. I wasn’t able to join them this time, but I will next fall.

I should point out that the grapes that you see in these pictures were pressed into the barrels about 9 days before these pictures were taken, and have already gone through the primary fermentation process. This means that yeast has already converted much of the sugar in the grape juice to ethanol (alcohol). So what you will see here are the next steps, post crush and primary fermentation. I will do my best to give you some context or play by play of each photo. I really hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I do…and you can certainly see my dad is having a good ol’ time while my mom mans the camera.

As part of my play by play, I’ve lined the photos up in the order in which they occur chronologically. I should point out that this year’s grapes were Zinfandel and Cabernet, a bit of a change from the usual Alicante varietal we usually use. Anyway, here we go...

Here you see dad draining the wine for the barrel in which the grapes went through primary fermentation. He will take this wine and transfer it to another barrel which is where the wine will undergo secondary fermentation where the remaining sugars will.

Here dad takes the wine he just drained from the primary fermentation barrel and puts it in a clean barrel where it will undergo secondary fermentation.

Here he take the grape skins, or pomace, and puts it into a presser where he will squeeze the remaining juice out.

Dad cranking the presser, and you’ll notice the flow of remaining juice draining into the bucket.

He removes the pomace after squeezing every last drop out.

Proud papa stands next to his babies, which he will likely begin consuming in about 3-4 months.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Deep Freeze, and Wine Is Born

Hi Gang,

So my wife and I recently celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary with a wonderful dinner, and yes, you guessed it…some wonderful wine. After that wonderful dinner, we both had dessert…I had this raspberry cheesecake that was just great. But anyway, > the host at the restaurant brought us over some complimentary dessert drinks. Much to my surprise, he brought over an ice wine.

I say much to my surprise because prior to that day I had never tried it before. I know I know, I should be embarrassed but I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how much I love Port as an accompaniment to my dessert.

And I have to say, I quite enjoyed it. It was pinkish in color, and the nose was light, very fruity and aromatic with scents of green apple and honey. Medium-body with a slight touch of tartness at first in the mouth, but overall it was sweet, very smooth on the finish, and clearly lower in alcohol content than Port wine (at least this one was). If I had to equate it in taste to another beverage, I would honestly say it was like a glass of grape juice with some lemon and honey squeezed into it.

I know quite a few people who say they don’t like the alcohol burn or fume after drinking Port, so this may be an alternative for you to consider. Unfortunately I lost my note with the vintner name on it, but I do know this particular ice wine was from Germany.

Anyway, enough with my thoughts…I’m sure some of you are still saying ‘what the heck is ice wine?’ Well, let me give you some detail from my own research into it.

Ice wine is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, so the result is a concentrated, often very sweet wine. The most famous (and expensive) ice wines are German Eiswein and Canadian ice wine, but apart from these, ice wine is also made in the United States, Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Australia, France, New Zealand and Israel in smaller quantity.

The high sugar level in the must leads to a slower than normal fermentation. It may take months to complete the fermentation (compared to days or weeks for regular wines) and special strains of yeasts should be used. Typical grapes used for ice wine production are Riesling, considered most noble grape in Germany; Vidal, highly popular in British Columbia and Ontario, Canada; and, interestingly, the red grape Cabernet Franc. Many vintners, especially from the New World, are experimenting with making ice wine from other varieties: whites such as, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Blanc; or reds such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, and even Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ice wines from white varieties tend to be pale yellow or light gold in color when they are young and can maderise (acquiring a deep amber-golden color) as they age. The red varieties tend to have a light burgundy or even pink color like that of rosé wines.

Ice wine usually has a slightly lower alcohol content than regular table wine. Some Riesling ice wines from Germany have an alcohol content as low as 6%. Ice wines produced in Canada usually have higher alcohol content, between eight and 13 percent.

I would love to hear your thoughts on ice wine if you’ve tried it. Do you prefer it to Port wine with dessert? Did you not like it when you tried it? C’mon let me hear from you.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Autumn is Here: Time to dust off the Port

Hey gang,

Autumn is here, and if you're anything like my wife and I, you've been enjoying the wonderful crisp nights. I'm not sure why, but we tend to spend more time outside on our deck at night in the fall enjoying some adult beverages. With that in mind, chilly autumn nights are absolutely perfect time to enjoy some Port wine.

If you recall, a while back I wrote a post on the different types of Port wines, as well as some delicious little treats to enjoy with each. To revisit that post "Port Wine. Nature's Candy?", please click here. Since I've been on a diet lately, I won't be enjoying Port with any treats, however, I have been loving it with a nice cigar. I'm sure my friend Matt from the Daily Doormatt can tell you just how great this little libation is with a cigar.

In addition to my post on Port, you may also enjoy this entertaining video by Gary Vaynerchuk, director of operations at Wine Library. Gary pairs some different Ports with blue cheese, and provides commentary as only he can. Check it out.

Anyway, I just wanted to get you guys thinking about another option for you as you take advantage of these delightful Autumn nights. Enjoy it while it lasts!


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Pop the Cork - Ravenswood, Sonoma, California

We visited the Ravenswood Winery recently during a trip to the west coast, where we shot up to Somona County and Napa Valley. One of the wineries we especially enjoyed was Ravenswood right outside of Downtown Sonoma. Surrounded by beautiful scenery and staffed by knowledgeable, UNintimidating staff that makes you feel very comfortable and welcome.

If I remember correctly, this wine was sourced from a local Sonoma vineyard owned by Barbara and Patricia, hence the name Barricia.

The wine: Ravenswood Barricia Zinfandel Sonoma Valley 2004

Country: United States

Region: Sonoma Valley, California

Category: Zinfandel

Vintage: 2004

Price: $26.00

The color: Ruby red,

The Nose: Nice cherries and currants, red fruit

The Tasting Notes: Not what you might be expecting from a zinfandel. A well rounded subtle wine, with lush dried cherry and other red fruit flavors. A well rounded wine that would pair very well with food. The finish could be a bit longer, but a very classy wine. The label gives unquie facts like the picking date (Sept. 9, 2004), bottling date (April 19, 2006), total cases (1220) and total acidity (0.65g-100ml).

The Verdict: High 8 corks

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Genome Project - Vine Style

Listen, we all know that your DNA is what makes you who you are. For instance, my DNA has dictated that I will be a pitiful 5’-6” tall for the rest of my life, with a head the size of a compact car. There’s no changing it…take a sample for my blood or saliva, and you can map it for yourself. We all have a map, and they contain somewhere in the range of 20,000 genes.

Now, every miserable time you take a look in the mirror and see “that thing” looking back at you, you can thank hundreds of years of history for that marvelous creation you call INSERT YOUR NAME HERE. All facets of nature have a genetic structure…humans, animal, plants, etc. But, for the first time ever, scientists have identified the genetic map of a fruit. Care to wager a guess which fruit that was? I’ll give you a hint…if you drink red Burgundy or Champagne you’re drinking its juice.

That’s right, French and Italian researchers have mapped the genome of the pinot noir grape. And - you ready for this – it’s more complex than the human genome. The pinot noir grape has about 30,000 genes in its DNA. Ain’t that something?

So, what does the map tell us? The team said its research had confirmed that the grape has an unusually high number of genes whose job it is to create flavor. More than 100 of its genes are dedicated to producing tannins and terpenes — compared to about 50 for other plants. Even more exciting for us wine drinkers, is the fact that the mapping of those flavor-producing genes could be a first step toward developing new flavors in wine by allowing scientists to breed different varieties to create precise new tastes.

The research also showed what most of us already know – pinot noir is extremely sensitive to where they are grown, which illustrates why we have different flavors in wines from Burgundy, California, Oregon or New Zealand.

Now some of you might be sitting here saying ‘who the hell cares?’ But these scientific breakthroughs will undoubtedly have a significant impact on wine production and viticulture in the years to come. Imagine the ability to develop new flavors based on genetic manipulation, or to have the ability to enhance the vines defense from mildew and insects. The opportunities appear endless, and even YOU may be able to taste it in your wine glass ten years from now.

Amazing what science can do, isn’t it? To think this tiny, tasty, juicy, delicate piece of fruit that so many of us take for granted has a structure as complex as ours. Centuries of evolution that end up in our glasses, and ultimately enhance our meals. Next time you pop open a bottle of wine made from the pinot noir grape, remember to pay homage to the more superior organism. Just kidding.

Let me know what you think of this discovery...

For a complete AP story on the research findings, please click here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Gulpable" Wines

Hello there jilted readers. I'm sure no one is reading us at this point. (I wouldn't blame you.) The two of us started new jobs in the Spring and life began to catch up with us - as did the pace at which we were posting reviews. We are going to make the effort to return this blog to all of it's glory with new features and a slightly different style of posting and reviewing. But, more about that later.

What actually inspired me to post today was a recent article by Eric Asimov (Sept. 19, 2007). He pens a good piece in the New York Times today about easy drinking and easy on the wallet wines.

That got me thinking. I'm sure we all have that cheaper wine that we keep around for that random Tuesday when work, life or the kids have just been a little more than usual. For me, it has to be Falesco's Vitiano. Always a consistent, fruit forward wine that I can drink with or with out food. So, what are you drinking that won't break the bank?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Watch out, Europe...Here comes Brazil?

Now I will admit right upfront that I have never tried wine produced in Brazil. And when I hear myself say that I get a little angry at myself. My late, Brazilian grandfather, Costello DaSilva, used to say that some day Brazil would someday play in the wine arena. I never listened because, well Brazil is a tropical climate, not ideal for grape growing. I have heard for years now that Brazil was considered a risky development region, but now development is exactly what's taking place. European wine produces are investing millions into a possible Brazilian expansion, and according to a recent NY Times article, it might just be paying off.

C'mon, it shouldn't be so hard to believe. Listen if China and India can gain some steam, why not Brazil? These three countries have been dubbed the "new latitude" wine regions. Look at countries like Chile and Argentina. They were once considered "development regions" too, and now they are thriving in the new world of wine production.

The new latitude winemakers are still relatively unknown compared with the traditional European powers of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal, and they lag behind even the New World producers from Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.

China and Brazil, the two biggest players among the new crop of wine-producing nations, produce just 6.7 million hectoliters, or 2.4 percent of the world’s annual output, according to figures from the International Wine and Spirit Record, a London-based research company. Still, wine is becoming more popular in countries like Brazil, China and India because of a growing middle class and publicity about its health benefits. Producers in all three countries are betting those markets will grow, and there are figures to back that up. The London research company estimates that by 2011, wine consumption will rise by 12 percent in Brazil, 39 percent in China and 82 percent in India.

Click here to check out the entire article by Andrew Downie.

Well, let me be the first to say that I will, this week in fact, try some Brazilian wine...that is if I can find it. In honor of my late grandfather Costello DaSilva, a native Brazilian, I will find a bottle. When I do, be ready for my review.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Pop the cork

Tonight's wine selection was the result of a wine tasting class my wife attended in NYC last week. She very much enjoyed it, and actually won this bottle in a raffle at the event.

The wine: Stormhoek Pinotage 2005

Country: South Africa

Region: Western Cape

Category: Pinotage

Vintage: 2005

Price: $9.99

Tasting Notes:

The color: Deep ruby red, and very thick appearance on walls of the glass.

The Nose: Very sweet fruit filled nose with nice notes of plum, cherry and spice.

The Taste: As the nose would indicate, a very rich, vibrant fruit filled wine upfront. Plums and strawberries most notably. Wonderful spice smokiness, will the density of earth and tar. Very nice smooth finish with lingering fruit flavors and moderate tannins. Quite a nice wine, that I bet would be absolutely amazing with some BBQ ribs...and you know how I like some ribs.

The Verdict: 7 corks

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wine Everyday Keeps the Doctor Away?

Several weeks ago I published an article about the massive increase in the purchase and consumption of red wine after a medical study revealed that an element in red wine may extend a person's life span. That study was truly remarkable and provided some weight for the argument to drink a glass of wine everyday to keep the doctor away.

To take that to the next level, an article on discusses another medical study which found that a pigmentation chemical that makes grape skins and wines red has been found to kill human leukemia and lymphoma. However, the compound, a type of anthocyanidin common in plants, left healthy blood cells alone. The study will be published on May 4 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. For the full Wine Spectator story, click here.

The medical team focused on one of the most common anthocyanidins, which are forms of anthocyanin, water-soluble flavonoids that provide color to flowers, leaves, fruits and vegetables. In grapevines, anthocyanidin is believed to play a part in attracting honeybees to the vines' flowers, as well as serving as a natural sunscreen by protecting against high levels of ultraviolet radiation.

The team studied the effects and the mechanisms of cyanidin-3-rutinoside (C-3-R), to see how it behaves in the presence of cancer. The C-3-R was extracted and purified from black raspberries, though it also abounds in red wine. The C-3-R was tested on several lines of human leukemia and repeated using cell cultures of lymphoma, another immune system–based cancer. The scientists observed that, at low doses of C-3-R, half of the cancer cells in all of the lines died within 18 hours of treatment. At higher doses, the C-3-R killed all of the cells by the end of the 18-hour period. The experiment was repeated several times, on different types of leukemia cancer cells, with similar results.

Now I don't need another reason to drink a glass of wine everyday, but some of you might. The health benefits of wine have been professed for centuries, and often in the form of wives tales. However it seems that the medical world continues to conduct studies that illustrate some very promising health benefits. About 44,000 new leukemia cases will be diagnosed in the United States in 2007, and there will be about 22,000 leukemia-related deaths according to the National Cancer Institute. I'm not saying red wine will cure cancer, but anything that can possibly prevent or ease the disease is OK in my book.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Reader's Poll: Red or White?

So we've been doing this blog for a few months, and it dawned on me that I've never asked what you folks enjoy drinking the most. Are you a red or a white fan? Pinot Noir or Pinot Grigio?

Perhaps there is a specific variety that you drink the most, and would most likely order first at a bar? Let us hear from you. You can give us a wine you pair with dinner, or the wine you'd prefer to enjoy simply as a cocktail.

As for me, I am a red wine guy. I really enjoy Malbecs and, at the moment, Cabernet/Shiraz mix.

Let's see what you fine people think...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Want to start your own winery? All you need is a laptop.

So I came across a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that had me absolutely fascinated...particularly because I have long wanted to make my own wine. It was about the combination of technology and oenology, thanks to a company called Crushpad ( Now I've heard of Crushpad, but didn't realize the extent of their capabilities. This company allows people to make their own wine. Yeah, I know, big deal...I can do that in my garage. However, it goes beyond making your own wine. We're not talking about making some home brewed shwag.

This place lets you decide what kind of wine you want to make, how much you want to make, and how involved you want to be in the process. That's right...I could sit here in Jersey while they make the wine. But it doesn't stop there. Winery staff keep their virtual vintners up to date with e-mails and Web postings. When the fruit comes in, Web cams show the crush, complete with live chat so viewers can question the workers, who respond to computers equipped with voice-recognition software. Basically, the grapes and crush process are real, but your experience can be as virtual as you want it to be. Further along in the process, members can participate in blending and bottling decisions and design their own labels.

Can you imagine creating your own wine label and winery for $5,000-10,000? Well now you can, and it's much cheaper than spending millions on real estate and equipment. And, you control your level of involvement. If you want to be their for crush and bottling, just take some time off of work and head west. It's your winery, you run it the way you want.

So, what do you think of this new process? Is it something you'd consider doing? Have you already made your own wine?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pop the Cork: A dinner's best friend

Here we go with another wine review.

The meal: Boneless chicken breast stuffed with a spicy Spanish sausage, spinach, onions and Romano cheese; served with a Spanish yellow rice with peppers.

The Wine: Barefoot Cellars Chardonnay

Country: USA

Region: California

Vintage: 2005

Price: $6.99

Tasting Notes:
The Color: Straw Yellow

The Nose: The moment you pull the cork, scents of peach and citrus jump out. The fruit on the nose is almost overwhelming, and a very slight oakyness.

The Taste: As the nose led me to believe, the fruit just jumps right from the start. Intense flavors of peach and apple dance around, with a very slight citrus tartness. The finish is very smooth and pretty creamy with notes of vanilla and oak. Overall, this is not a bad wine for the price. I wanted to pair something on the fruity side with our spicy meal, and I think it worked out pretty well. I will say though that this wine is a fruit bomb, so if you don't enjoy a lighter white with a lot of fruit notes, then this wine is not for you. Sauvignon Blanc drinkers should give it a try's not dry like a Sauv Blanc, but the fruit and buttery finish will likely please you.

The Verdict: 7 corks

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sommeliers: Do you ask or don't you?

So, when you have a problem with your computer at work, what do you do? Let me guess, you pick up the phone and call your IT folks to come fix the problem. And if you're feeling under the weather, you go to the doctor. If you're looking for flowers for your wife or girlfriend, you go to the florist and ask for their input, right?

Yet ironically, many of us (myself included) don't apply that same logic when we're out to dinner. We go to dinner, review the wine list, and make what we think is a good decision on which bottle of wine to order. Amazingly, standing 10 feet away from us is a sommelier, or wine expert, that is more than willing to help us. Sommeliers spend years learning about viticulture, climactic conditions, grape varieties, wine production and tasting. They are truly a tremendous resource that can take a good meal to a whole new level by recommending the perfect wine to accompany it. Another thing to be aware of is that these experts are the major contributing factor to what is on that restaurants wine list, and they usually have tasted each wine on the menu.

So then why don't we ask them for help? Clearly they know more than we do...especially when you consider that they've probably tasted it all. I can think of a few reasons. First, for men, it's machismo nonsense. Think of it in the same line as a man asking for driving directions...we just don't want to do it, because asking would mean admitting that we're lost. The same applies to reviewing a wine list. We don't want to appear confused as our eyes wander through Italy, France, Spain and Chile, among others.

Second, I think we're all afraid the sommelier will select a bottle outside of our price range, and we don't want to appear cheap. However, what's important to realize is that the sommelier will work within the price range you indicate. Good wines come in all price points.

As I write this, I realize that these two reasons for refusing the help are for me personally. So, what are your reasons? Do you use the valuable sommelier resource, or do you tend to shy away? Have you had a great/bad experience with a sommelier that you'd like to share?

The mic is open...sound off.

Later in the week I'll post some tips on how to work with a sommelier, whether at a business lunch or at an anniversary dinner.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

So what's in your cellar?

I was looking over my wine collection yesterday, trying to take a visual inventory. Afterwards, two things came to mind. The first was that I have some very nice bottles I completely forgot about, which are at their peak right now and ready to drink. I guess because I've been so busy, and because of the world wine tour we conducted here on this blog (which we'll begin again shortly) many of these wines were neglected. But while I made a mental note of the bottles I'd be drinking in the coming weeks, I thought I would write about it as well so you folks would rummage through your collections and start drinking those bottles that are just screaming for your attention. For example, I have a 2001 Torbreck Shiraz that's been tucked away for a few years. No doubt it's ready to accompany my next fact tonight might be it's lucky night.

The second thought that came to mind was that my collection of white wines is, quite frankly, depleted and piss poor. With the exception of some vinho verde and some miscellaneous bottles of Chardonnay, my collection of whites is non-existent. But the reason I mention it is because I am a big fan of white wine, and I'm a little disappointed in myself for letting my white collection get this bare. I can assure you that several trips to Wine Library will cure that ailment.

Now, enough about me. What is it that you fine people have sitting in your cellars? Which aspects of your collections are you looking to build on? And, most importantly, is there a wine variety that you just have to have at this very moment?

The mic is open...sound off.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Wine Industry News: Got Wine? And Paris in Bordeaux?

So I was perusing through some recent wine industry news, and came across two items that thought might be of interest to you fine people. I do this from time to time on this site because I think it's important to stay up to date on what's happening in the world of wine. So let's get right to it. The first items is a real news item, the second is something that truly makes my stomach turn. Keep reading...

Forget Milk, Got Red Wine?

Anybody remember reading about two high profile medical studies published in November 2006 that highlighted several health benefits associated with red wine? Well I do too. Apparently, those two studies from the Harvard Medical School and the National Institute on Aging garnered significant positive attention for red wine. In case you don't recall the news, in early November, newspapers and media outlets nationwide covered medical studies finding that daily doses of resveratrol, a substance in red wine, may slow the aging process.

And, of course, who wouldn't want to stay young forever? Well, according to the tremendous amount of red wine purchased after the studies' results were published, no one. Sales growth of red wine outpaced sales growth of the total category by 40% in the 20 weeks ending March 10, according to figures just released by The Nielsen Company. The positive numbers, showing red wine dollar sales up 8.5% versus total wine sales up by 6.0%, reflect increased attention to the potential health benefits of red wine.

Paris in Bordeaux? You have to be kidding me.

Now any of you who know me well know that I am not one of those people who reads the celebrity rags, and stays up to date on what stupid things and ridiculous acts they are up to now. But when I saw this little dandy of a news item, I literally said out loud "are you f-ing kidding me?" I am absolutely fact, I'm angry about this...

The fine French wine-producing region of Bordeaux has apparently decided to make Paris Hilton the new face for the region. Yes, PARIS F-ING HILTON! You know, the woman who is famous for doing absolutely nothing? According to, this lady (if you can even call her that) will reportedly appear numerous print and broadcast ads throughout the summer and autumn in Europe and the US. The article goes on to say that the millionaire socialite herself would launch the campaign on the first day of Vinexpo, arriving at the fair – which is attended by more than 50,000 members of the international wine trade – in a hot air balloon.

I'm sorry, I just don't get it...well actually, I understand the publicity aspect of it. However, I don't understand why such a revered wine region would want to use the services of a person whose reputation is not consistent with that of the wine produced in the region. The wine of Bordeaux is complex, powerful, intricate, professional and well put together. How about their new spokesperson? Well, not so much.

I have to say, I am truly disappointed they went in this direction, and am curious to see what the consumer response will be. In fact, let's run a mini consumer survey right now. What do you think of Bordeaux's new celebrity spokeswoman? I really want to hear from you.

The mic is open...sound off!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Drink the Vine: Guest Review

Hey folks. I hope your week is going well so far. Now I know you guys are used to hearing from me and Grape Nut regarding our tastes in wine. But, I thought it'd be cool to start to offer you something different from time to time. So today, I'm happy to introduce what will become a regular monthly column...the DTV Guest Review. This seems like a fun way to get our readers perspectives on the wines they are drinking...some of which may very well be recommendations from us. So, without further ado, I am proud to introduce our first ever guest review.

This review was submitted by Jim Tax, a friend and fellow wine lover who lives in Seattle, WA. Jim has the luxury of frequently drinking the wines of Washington and Oregon (many of which don't make their way this far east). Having had the luxury of working on a project with Jim for some 2 months in Chicago last year, we frequently discussed and drank wine together. I can honestly say I trust his judgement when it comes to wine recommendations. Thanks to Jim for sending this over.

If anybody else would like to provide a guest review for next month, please email us at We will select the best written reviews for use in future columns.

The Wine: 2005 Owen Roe Abbot’s Red Table Wine
Country: USA
Region: Oregon, Walla Walla Valley
Category: Red blend (Claret-esque)
Price: $22.99 retail ($45 in restaurant)
Decanted or Not: No

Tasting Notes:

Color: Medium Ruby Red

Nose: Not what you’d expect from Oregon (power and charm). Some oak, pepper and fruit hit the nose all at once and it is hard to tell which is the strongest. Great balance.

Taste: Plum and pepper open with a long tobacco and chocolate finish. The spice pairs it well with a hearty Italian meal and the finish makes this the perfect pairing for about any red meat. Don’t expect to have just one bottle. This wine is perfect if you have the stereo-typical Napa person that will only drink California reds. Stellar wine with a great range and smooth finish, all at a pretty good value.

The Verdict: 9 corks

Note: While I have never had this wine, I have seen this wine rated from 85 to 93 on cellartracker. So clearly it is a crowd pleaser. Jimbo, if you happen to order this puppy in bulk, I expect a bottle.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Preception, How does it affect your wine drinking?

Stemming from some recent comments I thought I'd post a question...Have you ever been in a situation where you would have preferred a glass of wine to another beverage or vice versa, but felt that the situation required you to order another drink?

For example, I was told when I graduated college that you didn't want to be the guy at a corporate function ordering a beer. You were supposed to choose a cocktail like Gin and Tonic, Scotch on the rocks, something like that. I eventually settled on my parent's favorite the Manhattan. At the time all I really wanted was a beer, but felt that this wasn't the time for it.

Another example is going to a sports bar to watch a game. At times I prefer beer, but there are times when I would rather just have a glass of wine. I have ordered the glass of wine, much to the amusement of my friends, but why is it so out of place?

Discuss amongst yourself.


Monday, March 26, 2007

How do you drink it????

I thought I'd start out this week with a question: Champagne and sparkling wines, how do you drink them?

Seems pretty dumb doesn't it, but I would bet a lot of people rarely drink the stuff unless they're celebrating a holiday, birthday or some event of note. Do you only drink it on New Years Eve or are you one of those poor souls how just can't tolerate the sparkling wine?

I personally like to drink champagnes and sparkling wines as much as possible. When my wife and I were in our more romantic days, we used to regularly drink champagne on a random Tuesday night. It would be interesting to see peoples reactions to such a brazen display of drink choice. We would always get the question, "What are you celebrating?"

Our response was always simply, "That, it's Tuesday. Do we need more of a reason?"

Now I'm not suggesting that I was drink a top shelf champagne on that random day after work. I generally tend to have a Cava or Sparkling, something like Freixenet or Cristalino. Recently, I've trended more towards the proseccos like Villa Jolanda.

Additionally, I think it's important to point out that sparkling wines pair with almost any meal. From sweet desserts (try a demi sec or prosecco) to a Brut that with stand up boldly to any beef fillet or fish. Sparkling is especially suited to meals where the flavors range from sweet to spicy, bold to subtle.

My point here is that you shouldn't save sparkling wines for special occasions with many drinkable $8 - $10 bottles out there these wines should be making it your weekday dinner table. You never know, it may change your outlook on the work week and make feel more like a weekend.



Thursday, March 22, 2007

SIlly Frenchmen. Oak Chips are for New World Wines

So I'm cruising the pages of NY Times columnist Eric Asimov's blog, The Pour, and I come across a recent post of his. The post is in regard to an article that appeared on Decanter's website. The story, in brief, was about surge in the sales of oak wood chips to winemakers in Bordeaux - a surge of as much as 200%. Now I know you guys are sitting there saying "why the hell is he writing about wood chips?" Well, there are two interesting aspects to this...hear me out.

First, the increased sale of wood chips to Bordeaux indicates that wine makers in the "old world" are turning to techniques used in the new world, including the US. You see, traditionally, in order for wine to acquire the oak flavor, it was aged in oak barrels for anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Well, oak barrels are expensive. More importantly, the during the time it is aging to gain that oakeyness, that wine is not generating any money for the vineyard. Enter the oak wood chips. Now, following the examples of the "new world" wine producers, wood chips can be used to give that wine the oak flavor...and it can be done much faster, and much cheaper than oak barrels.

I know I still don't care. Well, how about this...despite the increase in sales, most winemakers prefer to be discreet, asking, for example, for their invoice not to reflect the purchase of wood chips. So what? Well, my point is how do you know which Pomerol or Margot is aged in oak barrels and which ones are using wood chips to manufacture the oak flavors? And, perhaps more importantly, do you as a wine drinker care? I know I do.

The second interesting aspect of this article is the fact that I was under the impression that the French had banned the use of wood chips in 2006, even though in 2005 the European Union’s decided to allow their use. It turns out that though the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine, which regulates French A.O.C. wines, had last November banned the use of wood chips. Only problem is that the ban hasn’t yet been signed into law. Ha ha ha, bureaucracy...what a shock!
As a result many winemakers refer to the EU regulation authorizing the use of wood chips post fermentation. For the moment only chips and sticks are in demand in Bordeaux, as wood powders are not authorised by the EU, and the use of staves is complicated.

Those who are against the authorized use of wood chips are said to fall into two camps, those who are already using, but don't want their neighbours to get started, and others who fear that legalising wood chips will open the flood gates to what they dub 'new world wine making practices' such as adding water, or using wood powders.

Me personally, I see it this way: If the vineyard buying the wood chips is a small, struggling farmer just trying to desperately compete and stay afloat, then I'm ok with that. However, if the large, sought-after Chateaus are the ones purchasing and using these new world techniques simply to increase profits, then I have a problem, and they have some 'splaining to do, Lucy. I just shouldn't have to worry about shortcuts and doctoring if I'm buying a bottle for $500. That's my stand on it.

So, let me ask you fine wine you care? Do you have a position on this subject? If so, I'd love to hear it. The mic is open...sound off like you've got a pair.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wine Spectator to Harness Power of the iPod

Yeah yeah, I know. You fancy shmancy commuters and techno geeks don't have the time nor desire to stop by the nearest Barnes N Noble to grab the latest issue of Wine Spectators Top 100 wines. Well apparently, Wine Spectator also realizes you're lazy, yet techo-savvy...and they want to pander to you. And get this...IT'S FREE!
Wine Spectator recently announced their Top 100 Wines of 2006 for iPod, available to download for free at Mogopop. Each year, Wine Spectator senior editors survey the wines they have reviewed over the past twelve months and select the most exciting for the Top 100. This year, using Mogopop, these Top 100 Wines have been compiled into a portable, take-it-anywhere guide for iPod, available at

While this isn't a really big deal, I think it's cool...and here's why. Imagine this: you're out at lunch with a client or reporter or whatever. It wouldn't look very cool of you to pull out a cheatsheet or magazine to help you make a wine selection. But now, you have access to the info on your favorite tech gadget, and if you pull it out during lunch to help make a selection, you don't sacrifice or impact your coolness factor. I can guarantee you that Grape Nut and I will be some of the first to download the list of top 100.

"The Top 100 Wines for iPod means iPod-carrying wine lovers can now carry a great tool that offers the expertise and guidance they expect from Wine Spectator into a restaurant or on a wine shopping trip,” said Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of Wine Spectator.

The Top 100 Wines of 2006 for iPod works on every iPod with a screen, for both Mac and PC operating systems. The free download requires iTunes® and the free Mogopop Manager (

Well that's all for now. Remember to swirl, sniff and swig.